Assaults in France on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people hit a new record in 2018, “a dark year” for the LGBT community, French group SOS Homophobie reported Tuesday.
The non-profit association registered 231 physical attacks, up from the previous annual record of 188 anti-LGBT assaults back in 2013 linked to same-sex marriage legislation.
“2018 was a dark year for LGBT people,” said SOS Homophobie co-presidents Véronique Godet and Joël Deumier in the yearly report.
The number of assaults jumped 66% over 2017, with a spike towards the end of the year when a case a day was being reported to the group.
SOS Homophobie’s helpline, website and legal services collected 1,905 statements from witnesses of abuse of the gay community, 15% more than the previous year.
The breakdown of cases, which could involve multiple categories, showed 62% involved rejection, 51% insults, 38% discrimination and 20% harassment. Threats and defamation made up 17% each with physical assault on 13%.
Some 66% of witnesses were men, who were “more inclined to talk about it and turn to SOS Homophobie to denounce what they suffered”.
The association said the 42% leap in reporting of violence against lesbians appeared linked to the greater willingness of victims to speak out and the influence of the #MeToo movement.
With 23% of reported cases, the internet was the leading place for the expression of LGBT-phobia in France.
Facebook and Twitter act like an “echo chamber” of daily cases with the social networks recording more than half of all reported cases, the group said.